Summary: Issues of the day are debated and treated as something gentle to end a Wikileaks-filled news week with
TODAY’S show is the first show of this month. Rather than cover a lot of news we picked topics which we selected in advance all of for us to cover without preparation. This show is shorter than usual because it was recorded around midnight and OpenByteswill publish the show notes very soon.
Joe Lieberman: The man who tries to shut down Wikileaks
Summary: Apple is shutting out Linux content, breeds “fundamentalists”, mistreats employees, and basically repels even some of its own customers who are increasingly fed up (but locked in)
Microsoft is scared of Linux and Apple is nervous about Linux too. “Apple bans Android magazine app” says this CNN headline:
Tuesday seems to have been Apple’s (AAPL) day for saying “No.”
First Apple Legal ordered the Chinese manufacturer of a Steve Jobs look-alike doll to stop making the popular action figure.
Then a representative from developer relations informed the CEO of Mediaprovider, a small magazine publisher based in Denmark, that he couldn’t put a magazine about Google’s (GOOG) Android on the App Store.
When you try to challenge that statement with something like, “You do know that Apple didn’t invent multi-touch, right?” you’re often greeted with the fallacious rebuttal: “Yes, but they *popularised* it.”
In a misguided attempt to bring some balance to this argument I will unfortunately not be able to do a full review of the history of the smartphone, so let’s begin with the multi-touch driven interface Apple announced so proudly that it had invented.
The complaints touted on the blog range from the size of repair parts packaging to things like brain-washing and drinking the Apple Kool-Aid. It just goes to show you that you cannot make everyone happy.
Consider the complaint about the size of boxes for packaging repair parts. It might be better to have a one size fits all approach vs. having a handful of different size boxes around that you might never use.
Steve Jobs is a master of controlling the conversation, and he has attempted to reframe the “open vs. closed” debate into “integrated vs. fragmented“. There can be no doubt that his “integrated” approach has proven very profitable for Apple (poised to become the most valuable company on the planet this year, passing Exxon) but I don’t believe that his methods are ultimately sustainable.
Microsoft is turning into somewhat of a patent troll while Apple is proving to be another headache that cannot be ignored. Little by little Apple teaches people to give up their rights and their freedom. █
“FSF did some anti-Apple campaigns too. Personally I worry more about Apple because they have user loyalty; Microsoft doesn’t.”
Summary: Continued failure of the press to properly report security news, as shown by some of the latest examples
JOURNALISTS need to be trained to call out Windows. Nobody should just assume that a “computer problem” is a Microsoft Windows problem, just as a “car problem” says nothing about Toyota or Mercedes in particular. In operating systems there are dozens of choices available, some being more available than others (sometimes for illegal reasons).
Gordon (thistleweb) wrote some hours ago about about this ransomware story. He rightly asked: “anyone spot the word “Windows” in the Microsoft only story? No? Not just me then”
It is not the only new example of this kind. This other new article should state very clearly that Zeus is exclusively a Windows problem [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. It says:
A slew of Zeus Trojan variants and a merger between the two largest botnets have security researchers worried about future banking malware attacks.
“The heat is getting strong on Zeus,” said Abrams, referring to the recent streak of arrests shutting down Zeus botnets worldwide. “Zeus and SpyEye have definitely merged,” he said.
However, the merger “is not the big story,” said Abrams, pointing out there are other Zeus variants that are as dangerous, such as Feodo, which has the ability to deliver a payload that attacks over a dozen banking institutions.
Security researchers are alarmed about URLZone, which can transfer money out of an account and manipulates the browser to keep showing the user the original balance. A Trojan called Ares is also making the rounds, with the developer claiming “it has the same banking capabilities as Zeus and SpyEye,” according to German anti-malware company G-Data Software.
Here again (from the same source, Ziff Davis [1, 2, 3]) is a report which assumes people know “Botnet” means “Microsoft Windows Botnet”:
There are several well-known botnets, including Kneber, Rustock and Koobface, pushing out spam and malware each day, clogging up inboxes and compromising Websites.
Had the press bothered to say “Microsoft Windows” when such bad news was mentioned, then maybe more people would realise that Microsoft Windows — not computers in general — is the problem. They should also be made aware that not all “computers” are equal and many choices are available even for commodity PCs (including BSD and GNU/Linux). Windows is an operating system, it is not a personal computer (PC). Technologists are familiar enough with the subject area to know all of this, but the vast majority of the public is not, so this gets exploited. █
Summary: Modification and clever hacking of Microsoft products still frown upon by this proprietary marketing giant
THE RATHER objectionable suggestion that Microsoft favours hacking all of a sudden appears in Twitter and elsewhere. It is simply not true, as clearly suggested by very new evidence (not just heaps of older evidence). As a little bit of recent background, recall how Microsoft threatened to take legal action against KINect modders despite there being no law against it (not even DMCA, which is controversial and in many ways absurd enough to be worth repealing). What can Microsoft ever do to prevent people from writing drivers for equipment they bought and then use it to their heart’s content? Nothing. So after it had already been hacked Microsoft pretended that it welcomed hacking. It’s nothing but a PR move (damage control). Those who fall for it ought to be corrected.
As fresh news is already suggesting, Microsoft “diplomatically pushed” to prevent phone modding, but it’s probably as “diplomatic” as those “settlements” that come after patent extortion, making it look amicable (as part of the agreement). Here is one new article about it:
For those who read our previous article regarding the Windows Phone 7 Unlocker from the site ChevronWP7, now we bring you an update. It seems MS has diplomatically pushed to take it down with the intent to enable homebrew.
To make matters worse, Microsoft is litigating against Xbox 360 users who discover that they merely rent the machine, whose use Microsoft totally controls, even using the courtrooms. Surprisingly (in a pleasant way), the judge is furious right now:
Opening statements in the first-of-its kind Xbox 360 criminal hacking trial were delayed here Wednesday after a federal judge unleashed a 30-minute tirade at prosecutors in open court, saying he had “serious concerns about the government’s case.”
“I really don’t understand what we’re doing here,” US District Judge Philip Gutierrez roared from the bench.
Gutierrez slammed the prosecution over everything from alleged unlawful behavior by government witnesses, to proposed jury instructions harmful to the defense. When the verbal assault finally subsided, federal prosecutors asked for a recess to determine whether they would offer the defendant a deal, dismiss, or move forward with the case that was slated to become the first jury trial of its type. A jury was seated Tuesday.
Wow. I don’t think anyone expected the trial of Matthew Crippen for modding Xboxes to kick off the way it did: with a half an hour rant from the judge complaining about nearly everything having to do with the government’s case. The judge, Philip Gutierrez, even stepped back from his ruling last week that fair use couldn’t be used as a defense. The judge slammed prosecutors for putting two witnesses on the stand who had apparently broken the law — including one, a security employee from Microsoft, who had admitted to modding Xboxes himself in college — while trying to hide that fact from the jury.
There are many more articles like that. So, does Microsoft like hacking? Surely we’re 4 months away from April 1st, so for the time being, let us reject marketing stunts. █
“Public administrations must use this type of software whenever it meets the requirements, the solution and its community are mature, and when it overall does not cost much more than a commercial alternative”, explained Pöhl, one of the speakers at the South Tyrol Free Software Conference, that took place on 12 November in the Italian city of Bolzano.
As recent experience suggests, corruptible officials like Vendola (mentioned 3 times including the translations [1, 2, 3]) will be Microsoft’s weapon against these moves towards greater autonomy in Italy and Marco serves this latest update from Italy where he gives Vendola the benefit of the doubt:
Personally, I still think that the most likely case is that Vendola and his staff simply didn’t think this through and walked in the deal considering it an harmless, no brainer step. But we’re still in time to make the best out of the deal, or at least control the damage: while I write the Puglia Open Source Law must still be issued and all the activities mentioned in the protocol must still be defined and carried on by that “Committee”. All the FOSS advocates in Italy offered to help with that and the offer is still valid (as long as nobody tells us again “yeah, right, but isn’t it cooler to speak about fibers and fast Internet access?”).
Let’s keep an eye on Italy, which we’ve just added to our Wiki, mostly by grouping the links below in a dynamic page that everyone can edit. █
“What’s this thing? It looks pretty cool. What pretty icons! Can I touch them? I can, really?” Etc. That basically describes our infantile thought process when we stumbled across the DreamScreen 400 (not to be confused with the DreamScreen photo frame line), a new all-in-one desktop from HP, but suddenly it all became clear: this thing is built for the Indian market, and us chubby Americans will have to keep on dreaming. Still, it’s an interesting thought experiment.
I stumbled upon a website that showcases a 50-monitor setup powered by a 25 Linux cluster, which I think is awesome and could easily win any Linux workspace contest if qualified. The display is composed of fifty 21-inch touch-screen monitors that can run at a resolution of at least 12800×5120 (65,536,000 pixels).
Everyone who follows super-computers knows that they run on Linux. Just one look at the latest Top 500 SuperComputer list confirms that. Today 91.8% of all super-computers run Linux. Alas, if you look at the latest list, you’ll also see that the U.S. now trails China in the super-computers. IBM’s new CMOS Integrated Silicon Nanophotonics chips, though, should soon put the U.S. back in the lead.
Linux is one of the most flexible and suitable operating system for just about any purpose that I know of. It can be found everywhere from phones to toasters, supercomputers to computers smaller than a pack of cigarettes. It handles large amounts of money as well as your private, personal Internet surfing with equal ease.
Linux is a formless amoeba which is able to mould itself to what ever container it is poured into. But does it have any direction? Does the very act of Linux being pulled in several directions at once stretch this computing amoeba membrane thin and at risk of tearing?
There is nothing sufficiently wrong with Java that would cause it to uniformly be a second-class citizen on every distro. It is a widely-used language, especially in the corporate world. It has a vibrant open source community. On servers, it generated very interesting stable (Tomcat) and cutting-edge (Hadoop, Cassandra…) projects. So what grudge do the distributions hold against Java ?
Matt Bridger says he is “a bit of a later developer, IT-wise.” He received his first degree in History and during that time, he rarely came close to a computer. But the increasing relevance of computing around him could not be ignored, says Matt, both in the workplace and in everyday life. He soon found himself providing IT support to colleagues while working at the University of Cambridge, which is where he first encountered Linux. The OS was being used to manage academic archives and the faculty website.
Matt says that he once he discovered Linux, he was immediately drawn to open source because of the values of collaboration and sharing. He said Linux’ strength in powering software and systems made the magnetism even stronger.
Canonical has been using the Nouveau DRM/KMS driver since Ubuntu 10.04 LTS for providing 2D acceleration and kernel mode-setting for NVIDIA hardware on an open-source driver by default, but they haven’t yet shipped the Nouveau Gallium3D driver that would provide OpenGL acceleration support (along with OpenVG, OpenGL ES, and the other APIs accelerated by Gallium3D state trackers). Their reasoning for holding back on shipping the Nouveau Gallium3D component by default (though it is available through an experimental package) has been that the upstream Nouveau developers haven’t yet declared it stable and are unwilling to take bug reports against the driver. Canonical though may be in the process of reevaluating their Nouveau Gallium3D decision and this 3D driver could end up appearing in Ubuntu 11.04.
While the merge window was supposed to close yesterday for X.Org Server 1.10, which is supposed to be released in February, it looks like Keith Packard will keep it open for a few more days. Keith Packard, who is continuing to serve as the X.Org Server release manager, wants to keep the 1.10 merge window open until at least next Monday so he can pull in some new code he has been developing.
X.Org Server 1.10 was just looking to be a big bug-fix release to the X.Org Server with no major features being introduced, up until the merge window was about to be closed. Then last night it was proposed by Keith Packard, the xorg-server 1.10 release manager, to keep it open a few extra days so that he could finally merge the per-CRTC pixmap support. This work alone is nice and is long awaited, but now NVIDIA’s James Jones is calling for pulling another feature that’s had code available for months: X Synchronization Fences.
This is why I love Linux. If you don’t like one application, choose from the alternatives, simple as that. GNOME Do is an incredible launcher application for Ubuntu. But since GNOME Do is basically a Mono application, many might refrain from using it. But don’t worry, Synapse and Kupfer are equally good or even better GNOME Do alternatives. Learn more.
While other FOSS video editors like OpenShot and Avidemux are good, Pitivi comes pre-installed with Ubuntu 10.04. (You can also install it manually by typing sudo apt-get install pitivi)
The latest version of Pitivi was 0.13.4, at the time of writing. This full-featured video editor is written in Python (with GTK+) and is licensed under the LGPL (refer to www.pitivi.org for more details). It is supported by the Gstreamer multimedia framework, so it can handle most of the available formats and conversion. You can also convert your videos to HD using Pitivi, which we will come to soon. For now, let’s get started. I suggest you try out these steps as you read .
This morning there was the report on the release of Adobe Flash Player 10.2 Beta 1, which finally brought GPU-based Flash video acceleration to Linux. H.264 video acceleration has already been available on Windows and Mac OS X operating systems, but this is the first time that Adobe is bringing this support to the official Linux Flash player. With the 10.2 release to all operating systems they are providing this support via an API they call “Stage Video” for the complete acceleration of the entire playback process.
There is the first beta release of the Adobe 10.2 Flash Player now available for Microsoft Windows, Apple Mac OS X, and Linux platforms that brings a variety of improvements since the Flash Player 10.1 release from earlier this year. For Linux users this Adobe Flash update is quite important since it finally delivers GPU-based video acceleration support via their new Stage Video technology that is now supported on all platforms. Adobe’s Stage Video offloads the entire video process to the GPU and in this article are some initial tests illustrating the benefits of this Flash update for Linux users.
The tests here are just like the NVIDIA VDPAU tests from this morning, various system metrics were monitored by Iveland Alpha 3 while playing back a 1080p H.264 YouTube video clip under Adobe Flash Player 10.1 and this brand new Flash Player 10.2 Beta. The system under test this time was a Samsung NC10 netbook with an Intel Atom N270 (32-bit CPU, the Flash Player 10.2 Beta with video support currently lacks x86_64 support), 2GB of system memory, a 32GB OCZ SSD, and Intel 945 integrated graphics. The Intel Atom netbook was running Ubuntu 10.10 with the Linux 2.6.35 kernel, X.Org Server 1.9, Mesa 7.9, and xf86-video-intel 2.12.0. This was a fresh install of Ubuntu 10.10 as of this morning.
While the X Server 1.10 merge window should soon close, the patches for implementing X Input 2.1 / Multi-Touch support are on track for the next release, X Server 1.11. Ubuntu is also expected to ship these patches with their X.Org Server in Ubuntu 11.04.
The most recent Multi-Touch / X Input 2.1 patches were published nearly one month ago and Canonical’s Chase Douglas had based this work upon Daniel Stone’s earlier patches. Chase though did not pursue getting this work into X.Org Server 1.10 but is rather waiting around for the 1.10 merge window to close and then will focus upon re-basing the work.
Ubuntu Software Center is definitely coming alive. The latest entrants in the ‘for purchase’ section of Ubuntu Software Center include the incredibly good puzzle game called World of Goo and Vendetta Online, a 3D space combat MMORPG.
Improved map management and support for exporting routes in the KML format in Marble. Support for showing/hiding the bottom page bar in Okular. An option to create QML Plasmoids added to Plasmate. Support for GetHotNewStuff in the Pastebin Plasmoid. Work to increase the number of supported rows in KSpread. Pidgin support added to the “IMStatus” function of Choqok. Animated tiles in KMahjongg. Various work in KDE-PIM. Start of filtering (no GUI yet) integrated into KMail Mobile. Long-awaited ability to set custom button labels for yes, no, continue and cancel buttons in KDialog. “Find links only” option added to the “find bar” in KHTML. More work in kdebindings/perl. New activity manager daemon (with the KDED and Nepomuk service merged into a separate application). Facet API into imported into libnepomuk. Timestamp functionality added to KSharedDataCache to support KGameRenderer and similar libraries. Support for shutdown/restart when there is no active display manager (using ConsoleKit) in KDisplayManager. PolicyKit-kde removed from kdebase. KOffice 2.3 Beta 3 is tagged for release.
Today is the big day. The sale of the Open-PC starts. The first PC which is build by the free software community and not by a big company. Everybody can contribute. The Open-PC is using only free software and drivers.
The good news is that we are not starting with one or two but with three manufacturing partners and models. We are working together with ARLT and greeniX in Germany and ThinkPenguin in the US and we are looking for more partners in other countries.
Gnome Shell and Unity may have started on separate paths, but they are definitely heading to the same direction. Seif Lotfy has just posted a screenshot (not mockup!) of his current work: Zeitgeist and Gnome Shell…
MythTV 0.24 was released one month ago on their expedited release schedule, but the developers of this popular free software multimedia project are beginning to focus on their next release: MythTV 0.25. This release will drop support for XvMC (X-Video Motion Compensation) and libmpeg2 decoding and they also plan to drop Xv (X-Video) support in due time as well.
RabbitMQ, part of VMWare’s SpringSource division, has released version 2.2.0 of its open source enterprise messaging system based on the AMQP specification. According to the developers, the latest version addresses a variety of bugs found in the previous release and introduces several enhancements.
Two weeks have passed since the release of Iveland Alpha 2, but now it’s time for the third alpha release for the Phoronix Test Suite 3.0 “Iveland” benchmarking platform. Quite a number of changes have built up over such a short period of time as this release nears OpenBenchmarking.org integration and ready for its planned release in Q1’2011.
MIT krb5 clients incorrectly accept an unkeyed checksums in the SAM-2 preauthentication challenge: An unauthenticated remote attacker could alter a SAM-2 challenge, affecting the prompt text seen by the user or the kind of response sent to the KDC. Under some circumstances, this can negate the incremental security benefit of using a single-use authentication mechanism token.
Linux Mint Debian offers the “ready to use” Linux Mint experience in a rolling release Linux distribution. Until now, LMDE was only available in 32bit, but an announcement on the Linux Mint blog states that Linux Mint Debian 64bit will be released in December.
Please remember, Ubuntu IRC Membership is a way for people to acquire Ubuntu Membership for IRC contributions. Some examples of what these might include are available on the wiki. For more general contributions, you should apply through a Regional Membership Board.
Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal Alpha 1 has been released today. There’s nothing much to talk about right now since it’s only the beginning of the road, but since Unity received an update a couple of days ago, I though you might want to see a new video with Unity in action…
We are proud to announce today, December 2nd, that the first Alpha version of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system is now available for download. As usual, we’ve grabbed a copy of it in order to keep you up-to-date with the latest changes in the Ubuntu 11.04 development.
Ubuntu team yesterday announced the release of Natty Narwhal, which will eventually become Ubuntu 11.04. The Alpha 1 is far from what you will see in the final release, however it gives a glimpse of the integration of two major components on the desktop edition — Unity and Global Menu.
Overall Ubuntu is easy to install, easy to set up, easy to manage, sleek in looks and good in performance. Ubuntu is a clear superior to previous Ubuntu versions in most aspects and one of the best distros to get started with in the world of Linux. New users, whether to Linux, or to computing in general will find Ubuntu a suitable OS.
Being an Android developer, I’ve been baffled by the absence of the Android Market in the Android SDK. The absence makes it inconvenient for us to develop because we find it difficult to install our favourite apps like DiskUsage. With necessary limitations in place Google should have included the Market app as part of the SDK to make the emulator experience closer to real life.
The smartphone market in China is growing at an extraordinary rate, largely thanks to Google’s Android OS. Chinese consumers purchased 8 to 10 million smartphones last quarter, up from an estimated 2 to 3 million in the same period last year. And according to Morgan Keegan analyst Tavis McCourt, the bulk of them ran Android.
GCA Technology Services was chosen for its reputation and proven track record in developing and delivering world class identity management and web infrastructure training, as well as its wide-reaching US training delivery infrastructure. The company has a 100% client referral rate, and trained more than 2000 delegates in 2010.
The PES -who sponsored the development of the badge feature- used civievent for the first time at a big scale: their council in warsow. You might see some bits of it in the news, like the greek prime minister that just finished his speech, but only on this blog will you know more about part of the logistic of such a big event, and how civicrm helped it.
Let’s immediately agree on the obvious question: Why would anyone use Identi.ca when everyone is on Twitter?
Basically, this is the same question as “Why use Diaspora when everyone is on Facebook?”, “Why use Facebook when everyone is on MySpace?”, “Why use MySpace when everyone is on Friendster?”, or the good old “Why use XMPP when everyone is on MSN?” and “Why use MSN when everyone is on ICQ?”.
By now, I think most of you see where I’m going with this…
There is always a network that is more popular than others at a given point in time, without it being an obvious guarantee of said network’s quality.
This is simply the case because a network’s value is equal to its number of users squared. This is called Metcalfe’s Law.
The press has been alive the past several days with news of the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, where the police have been going in and rounding up drug dealers. From the amount of press and police actions, some people outside of Brazil must think that all of the people in the favela are thieves or drug dealers.
I went to a favela in Rio de Janeiro a few weeks ago while I was on a trip to Brazil. I was invited by a very interesting guy who was born in the favela, and started his “business career” by selling trinkets to the tourists on the beach. He taught himself how to speak three languages besides Portuguese, and in a short time he realized that he could make more money if he bought his trinkets off-season instead of waiting for the prices to rise in season. Later in life he taught himself computers and networking, and finally set up a wireless network infrastructure inside the favela. People laughed at him and told him that there would not be enough business, but by careful planning his little company is growing and the favela is benefiting from the connectivity.
Stallman has long criticized the more pragmatic half of the open-source community for its somewhat libertarian approach to licensing, a la Apache and BSD. Yet in an age of web-delivered software-as-services, an age that treats Stallman’s GPL with absolute indifference, Stallman expressly demurred from baking in a broader definition of “distribution” into version three of the GPL. My sources suggest that this was a direct consequence of Google applying pressure to the Free Software Foundation.
When then-general counsel of the FSF, Eben Moglen, gave a keynote at the Open Source Business Conference in 2007, he was asked about the FSF’s decision not to close the so-called “ASP loophole” in the GPL that allowed companies like Google to heavily modify GPL code and distribute it as a service, without contributing commensurately back. In early drafts of GPLv3, the FSF had defined “distribution” to effectively bar network-based software distribution, but in the final draft it was purged, and then whimpered its way into the GPL’s ugly stepchild, Affero GPL.
The eleventh annual Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting (FOSDEM) will take place on the 5th and 6th of February, 2011 in Brussels, Belgium. The KDE organisers have announced that they are now accepting submissions for talks to take place in the Cross Desktop Developer Room (DevRoom) on any KDE related topic.
Valerie Aurora wrote an excellent article for lwn.net, The Dark Side of Open Source Conferences. Currently, the article is only available to lwn.net subscribers, but you can write to Valerie to get the link, or wait until the post is publicly available in a few days.
I’d like to wish Henrik Ingo well now that he has publicly announced his resignation from Monty Program. Henrik, I especially wish you all the best with the new member of your family.
I know you put a lot of effort into your presentation to the Monty Program board regarding transfer of trademark ownership, and you know (and I do not mind saying externally) that I supported transfer to a non-profit designed for such purposes. Our informal, non-inclusive vote in Istanbul aside, I think the company as a whole should put a lot of thought into such matters. I would always hope the board would do the same.
And it is my understanding that this is what is happening. Not that the board made a final decision to maintain trademark ownership, but that they decided more research and discussion are needed. And despite my knee-jerk reaction to go the Debian trademark route, I came to Monty Program from Canonical. Wiser legal and business minds have decided to retain the Ubuntu trademark for Canonical. Just as Red Hat has retained the Fedora trademark. So despite my inclinations I have to ask why others have chosen differently.
Bruce Scott, the co-founder of Oracle says, “I remember him very distinctly telling me one time: Bruce, we can’t be successful unless we lie to customers.” And adds: “All the things that you would read in books of somebody being a leader, he wasn’t. But he was tenacious; he would never give up on anything.”
Dissatisfied with the infrastructure at Oracle’s java.net project hosting web site, the developers of the Hudson Continuous Integration technology are considering finding a new home at GitHub. The developers appear to have been unhappy for a while, and it seems that their dissatisfaction continues, although Oracle, after taking over Sun, soon started to migrate the Java portal to the more modern Kenai infrastructure.
Following our new strategy with regard to Oracle code, we (GRUB maintainers) have decided to grant an exception to our usual policy and import ZFS code from grub-extras into official GRUB.
Our usual policy is to require copyright assignment for all new code, so that FSF can use it to defend users’ freedom in court. If that’s not possible, at least a disclaimer asserting authorship (i.e. that no copyright infringement has been committed). The purpose of this, as always, is ensuring that GRUB is a legally safe codebase.
The ZFS code that has been imported into GRUB derives from the OpenSolaris version of GRUB Legacy. On one hand, this code was released to the public under the terms of the GNU GPL. On the other, binary releases of Solaris included this modified GRUB, and as a result Oracle/Sun is bound by the GPL.
I must start by thanking Mel Chua for visiting us in Connecticut and for prompting/prodding me to think more deeply about how open source and academia work together to accomplish education. I believe I now have a better picture of student and academic participation in open source projects.
At first look, student participation in open source projects seems like it should be relatively easy to accomplish. Sure, from a teaching perspective there are issues related to selecting a project, learning curve for the project, finding a mentor, identifying ways that students can participate, figuring out how to grade things, and more. But these things are surmountable.
The Free Software Foundation Europe relies on donations to be an independent voice. Our donors and Fellows help us to achive that with continous support. Another possibility to support FSFE is through some support programs . Some of you already know these programs, some don’t. I will try here to briefly present how these programs works and then present the incomes we receive through them.
Two left-wing political parties in the Portuguese parliament want to make the use of open standards mandatory for public administrations. Next week Friday, the parliament will discuss two motions, filed by the Left Bloc, with sixteen of the 230 seats in the parliament, and the Portuguese Communist Party, which has thirteen seats.
We know all about blood donors, those excellent people who give their plasma, plus a selection of interesting corpuscles and other matter, for the good of those in need of a fresh infusion of the red stuff. There are also organ donors. In fact, many a fine fellow whom you meet at The Old Nick on an afternoon might well be composed of spare parts stitched together from kind donors, if you watch how they weave their way away from that fine hostelry after an evening’s serious discussion of legal topics over a pint of Badger. But only recently has the IPKat discovered the concept of the public domain donor.
Researchers from Aachen University’s Media Computing Group have created a computer workstation where the desk and screen are transformed into one multi-touch display. The display is curved at the middle and uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface, which has its graphical user interface beamed onto it by a couple of short throw projectors hidden within its wooden frame.
A few months back a columnist for the Guardian, Helienne Lindvall wrote a laughably confused argument claiming that people who explained how “free” was an important element of a business model should not be trusted because they also made money. That made no sense, and lots of people explained why. She also got an awful lot of the basic facts wrong.
Lindvall is back, and rather than admitting her mistakes, she tries again, but comes across as even more confused and factually-challenged. The majority of the piece is about setting up more strawmen to knock over, with the two key ones being (1) that supporters of embracing new business models are “defeatist” because they suggest that file sharing cannot be stopped and (2) that while record labels may have ripped off musicians in the past, the companies ripping off musicians today are the “web 2.0″ companies that are making money on content — such as Google, Flickr and others.
In the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the relationship between the newly independent Republic of Moldova and the formerly Communist Romania was dominated by the rhetoric of “the bridge of flowers over the river Prut” (the natural border between the two countries). Although the metaphor of brotherhood failed to be translated into geopolitical unity, the facts underlying it (a shared past, culture, religion, and most importantly, a common language, although Moldova begs to differ on the subject) made it inevitable that the fates of the two countries should remain entwined.
NASA has discovered a new life form, a bacteria called GFAJ-1 that is unlike anything currently living in planet Earth. It’s capable of using arsenic to build its DNA, RNA, proteins, and cell membranes. This changes everything.
The newsroom at the New York Times is seen as editorial staffers work feverishly to prepare a Monday edition, in this Nov. 5, 1978 file photo. The chaotic newsroom culture of the mainstream media has not been a good platform for informed science journalism.
Success in tobacco control will not happen without public health champions speaking freely and honestly to the public. As professor Gérard Dubois explains below, there is real danger these voices are being silenced.
When Wikileaks released thousands of classified US diplomatic cables this week, a familiar criticism was repeated by the project’s foes: these leaks could harm innocent people. There’s no evidence of that yet, but within the documents there is evidence the American government has harmed innocent people.
A couple of days ago we wrote a small post thinking about ways in which Wikileaks could be taken off the Web. The conclusion was that Wikileaks might survive almost any type of concerted effort to remove it from the Internet. I was not really expecting the strength with which those words would be tested in the last few days.
In my recent article Ward Churchill: The Lie Lives On (Pravda.Ru, 11/29/2010), I discussed the following realities about America’s legal “system”: it is duplicitous and corrupt; it will go to any extremes to insulate from prosecution, and in many cases civil liability, persons whose crimes facilitate this duplicity and corruption; it has abdicated its responsibility to serve as a “check-and-balance” against the other two branches of government, and has instead been transformed into a weapon exploited by the wealthy, the corporations, and the politically connected to defend their criminality, conceal their corruption and promote their economic interests; and, finally, that the oft-quoted adage “Nobody is above the law” is a lie.
Some critics were quick to dismiss my article as politically motivated hyperbole. But with the recent revelations disclosed by Wikileaks, it appears that this article did not even scratch the surface, because it is now evident that Barack Obama, who entered the White House with optimistic messages of change and hope, is just as complicit in, and manipulative of, the legal “system’s” duplicity and corruption as was his predecessor George W. Bush.
The US was today accused of opening up a dramatic new front against WikiLeaks, effectively “killing” its web address just days after Amazon pulled the site from its servers following political pressure.
The whistleblowers’ website went offline for the third time in a week this morning, in the biggest threat to its online presence yet.
Reports say WikiLeaks and its members have complained about continuing harassment and surveillance by law enforcement and intelligence organisations, including extended detention, seizure of computers, veiled threats, “covert following and hidden photography”.
The recently released WikiLeaks diplomatic cables are not critical for Russian-US relations, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday. “The leaks show the full extent of the cynicism of those evaluations and judgments that often prevail in the foreign policy of various states, in this case I am referring to the United States,” Medvedev said.
Despite accusations that Julian Assange is on the run, The Independent has learnt that Scotland Yard has been in contact with his legal team for more than a month but is waiting for further instruction before arresting him. Police forces around the globe have been asked to arrest the enigmatic Wikileaks founder, who is wanted in Sweden to answer a series of sexual allegations against him.
But the 39-year-old Australian supplied the Metropolitan Police with contact details upon arriving in the UK in October. Police sources confirmed that they have a telephone number for Mr Assange and are fully aware of where he is staying.
British and American officials colluded in a plan to hoodwink parliament over a proposed ban on cluster bombs, the Guardian can disclose.
According to leaked US embassy dispatches, David Miliband, who was Britain’s foreign secretary under Labour, approved the use of a loophole to manoeuvre around the ban and allow the US to keep the munitions on British territory.
Unlike Britain, the US had refused to sign up to an international convention that bans the weapons because of the widespread injury they cause to civilians.
The US military asserted that cluster bombs were “legitimate weapons that provide a vital military capability” and wanted to carry on using British bases regardless of the ban.
The WikiLeaks revelations have claimed their first political scalp in Europe with the sacking of the German foreign minister’s chief of staff, who acted as a mole for the Americans, keeping the US embassy in Berlin posted last year on the confidential negotiations to form Angela Merkel’s new government.
It starts early. When the most recent Wikileaks dump broke, most of the folks in China news circles were focused on its supposed revelations about China’s support (or lack thereof) for North Korea. As the story has cooled, of course, most people have returned to earth, reminded that these cables represent the diplomatic equivalent to water-cooler gossip. But the Chinese government was, needless to say, paying close attention, and yesterday the Global Times ran an op-ed that betrays just how threatened they are by the idea of Wikileaks, even if the egg is on America’s face this go-round.
Contrary to other European leaders who downplayed the importance of sometimes unflattering reports about them in the US diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he was working on legal action against claims that he owned eight secret Swiss bank accounts.
Many weirdos email us about UFOs or how they discovered that they were the anti-christ whilst talking with their ex-wife at a garden party over a pot-plant. However, as yet they have not satisfied two of our publishing rules.
1) that the documents not be self-authored;
2) that they be original.
However, it is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs.
The person getting all the attention was Dorsey, because by then Twitter was all anyone wanted to talk about. In fact one reason we know so much about the trip is that Dorsey and his colleagues spent much of their time tweeting about it, sending news of their journey in electronic haiku to their followers back home. ‘Lots of helicopters,’ Dorsey observed on his Twitter feed: ‘Met the president of Iraq. Amazing palace.’ In another tweet, he tells his followers that he’s been ‘talking to Iraqis to figure out if technologies like Twitter can help bring transparency, accessibility and stability to the area’. When he finds a wi-fi network in the presidential palace, he says how happy he is to be back online: ‘Catching up on the rest of the world.’ ‘Lots going on out there!’ he writes. Barham Salih’s inaugural tweet was less upbeat: ‘Sorry, my first tweet not pleasant; dust storm in Baghdad today & yet another suicide bomb. Awful reminder that it is not yet all fine here.’
I was kindly invited yesterday by Spanish newspaper El País to participate in a digital debate, “Transparency versus security” (only in Spanish), where I asked when would we be able to access to the content of 115 cables tagged KIPR Madrid Embassy (link to Google fusion tables).
Britain was accused by Amnesty International of handing a “free ticket” to suspected war criminals after the government published parliamentary legislation designed to make it more difficult to arrest Israeli officials and ministers on British soil.
TSA regional security director James Marchand advises parents whose kids are upset by TSA groping to make a game of it, a suggestion that alarmed sex-abuse prevention experts, since “Telling a child that they are engaging in a game is ‘one of the most common ways’ that sexual predators use to convince children to engage in inappropriate contact.”
Éric Besson, the Minister of Industry, Energy and Digital Economy in France, has declared war on WikiLeaks (article in French here).
Besson has asked CGIET (The General Council of Industry, Energy and Technology) to stop the site being hosted in France, as this violates secret diplomatic relations and endangers the people protected by those secrets.
The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees freedom of expression against government encroachment – but that doesn’t help if the censorship doesn’t come from the government.
The controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, which has begun to publish a trove of over 250,000 classified diplomatic cables, found itself kicked off of Amazon’s servers earlier this week. WikiLeaks had apparently moved from a hosting platform in Sweden to the cloud hosting services available through Amazon in an attempt to ward off ongoing distributed denial of service attacks.
Importantly, the government itself can’t take official action to silence WikiLeaks’ ongoing publications – that would be an unconstitutional prior restraint, or censorship of speech before it can be communicated to the public. No government actor can nix WikiLeaks’ right to publish content any more than the government could stop the New York Times and Washington Post from publishing the Pentagon Papers, which were also stolen secret government documents.
The weaknesses are not caused by Wikileaks. The Internet-mediated transition from a hub-and-spoke topology of society to a meshed topology is the ultimate cause. It renders irrelevant the control-point thinking from the earlier age of chains of intermediaries. In every place where individuals take up the opportunities of the meshed society, the weaknesses emerge. The challenge by established computer corporations to open source, for example, is a direct consequence.
The ACLU has released a statement by Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project:
“We’re deeply skeptical that prosecuting WikiLeaks would be constitutional, or a good idea. The courts have made clear that the First Amendment protects independent third parties who publish classified information. Prosecuting WikiLeaks would be no different from prosecuting the media outlets that also published classified documents. If newspapers could be held criminally liable for publishing leaked information about government practices, we might never have found out about the CIA’s secret prisons or the government spying on innocent Americans. Prosecuting publishers of classified information threatens investigative journalism that is necessary to an informed public debate about government conduct, and that is an unthinkable outcome.
I’m disgusted by Amazon’s cowardice and servility in abruptly terminating its hosting of the Wikileaks website, in the face of threats from Senator Joe Lieberman and other Congressional right-wingers. I want no further association with any company that encourages legislative and executive officials to aspire to China’s control of information and deterrence of whistle-blowing.
Revelations by the organization WikiLeaks have received blanket coverage this week on television, in newspapers and on Web sites around the globe. But in parts of the world where the leaks have some of the greatest potential to sow controversy, they have barely caused a ripple.
Authoritarian governments and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders’ views.
In China, the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the government’s “Great Firewall,” and access to other sources for the documents has been restricted. Most Chinese are unable to read the contents of the diplomatic cables. . . .
WikiLeaks has exposed official wrongdoing and countless war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, serving as a vital conduit of information the U.S. government has tried to keep hidden from its own citizens — and which deserves to be free. Yet Amazon.com recently kicked WikiLeaks off its servers all because one politician, Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, asked. That’s not right.
At around 10PM EST last night, WikiLeaks was no longer accessible at the wikileaks.org web address. That’s the end of that, right?
The site is still accessible through several alternate domain names (wikileaks.ch, wikileaks.dd19.de, wikileeks.org.uk, to name a few), all of which point to its machine-readable IP address: 18.104.22.168.
The stuck pigs are squealing. To shift the onus from the US State Department, Hillary Clinton paints Wikileaks’ release of the “diplomatic cables” as an “attack on the international community.” To reveal truth is equivalent in the eyes of the US government to an attack on the world.
It is Wikileaks’ fault that all those US diplomats wrote a quarter of a million undiplomatic messages about America’s allies, a.k.a., puppet states. It is also Wikileaks’ fault that a member of the US government could no longer stomach the cynical ways in which the US government manipulates foreign governments to serve, not their own people, but American interests, and delivered the incriminating evidence to Wikileaks.
The US government actually thinks that it was Wikileaks patriotic duty to return the evidence and to identify the leaker. After all, we mustn’t let the rest of the world find out what we are up to. They might stop believing our lies.
The US Government doesn’t get it. The truth is out there and attacking the messenger does nothing to fix their tarnished image. What about the stupidity of distributing the stuff internally to millions of people and assuming it would never leak? What about the stupidity of spying on the world and assuming the world will continue to trust the USA? What about the stupidity of trying to hide civilian casualties when the civilians have families and can do the maths? Could the attacks on Wikileaks be a smoke-screen to hide all that? Could it be easier to wage a war than to change for the better?
Scotland Yard has deployed undercover officers to spy on a network of activists whose viral campaign against tax avoiders threatens to close down hundreds of shops in the run-up to Christmas.
The surveillance officers were first used at a protest in October, the Guardian can reveal, despite an assurance given to parliament last year that only officers in full uniform gather intelligence at protests.
The European Union had to accept Greek Cyprus’ accession despite its leader’s public campaign against a UN plan to reunite the island because member Greece would have otherwise blocked the membership of other countries, a former EU official was quoted as saying in a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which rebounded from the financial crisis to post record profit last year, was a regular borrower from two emergency Federal Reserve programs in 2008 and early 2009, new data show.
The firm borrowed from the Fed’s Term Securities Lending Facility most weeks from March 2008 through April 2009, data released by the Fed today show. Two units of the New York-based firm borrowed as much as $24.2 billion from the Fed’s Primary Dealer Credit Facility in the weeks after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy in September 2008, the data show.
The November jobs report is ugly. Last month, the jobs report showed the economy added 150,000 jobs, sparking hopes that recovery was underway. And the recent economic data had been good: Black Friday saw a lot of shoppers, and initial unemployment claims had been going down. The expectation was that November’s report would be yet another piece of good news.
It isn’t. The economy created 39,000 jobs in November — about 160,000 fewer than it’d need to begin cutting into unemployment, and about 100,000 less than it’d need to just keep up with population growth. Speaking of unemployment, the unemployment rate edged up to 9.8 percent.
In Sunday’s New York Times magazine, Roger Lowenstein profiles Jamie Dimon, head of JP Morgan Chase. The piece, titled “Jamie Dimon: America’s Least-Hated Banker,” is generally sympathetic, but in every significant detail it confirms that Mr. Dimon is now – without question – our most dangerous banker.
President Barack Obama’s budget deficit commission failed to garner enough support Friday to spur quick congressional action on its austere spending blueprint, but the plan will live on because a bipartisan majority on the panel embraced it.
Commission members said that by winning over 11 of the 18 panelists, they had defied expectations. They said it showed that Washington is capable of having an “adult conversation” on a bipartisan basis about the painful choices required to avert a European-style debt crisis.
An Indian case study of how open standards can make an impact on the domestic technology industry and promote innovation, by offering a level-playing field for technology companies — both big and small — is the Smart Card Operating System for Transport Applications (SCOSTA).
SCOSTA was a standard developed for smart card-based driving licences and transport-related documentation by different State governments. It was developed by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. Despite attempts by proprietary lobbies to make the body opt for a proprietary standard, the NIC and academics went ahead and developed an open standards, one that comprised technological specifications that were entirely royalty-free, and put up the specifications on their website. By doing so, they made a huge impact on the entire market.
The Pirate Bay Co-Founder, Peter Sunde, has started a new project which will provide a decentralized p2p based DNS system. This is a direct result of the increasing control which the US government has over ICANN.
The recent seizures of around 80 domains by the US authorities only goes on to show the amount of influence the government have over the internet. There is a fear that if the US Senate passes the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, such instances will increase – becoming a threat to an open internet.
In 1999 a Northeastern University freshman named Shawn Fanning wrote Napster, thereby pioneering peer-to-peer file sharing and a new paradigm for consuming media without the intermediary of a big studio or retailer. TIME put him on its cover, as did FORTUNE. He was 19 years old. (See the 50 Best Inventions of 2010.)
That same year, a Norwegian teenager named Jon Lech Johansen, working with two other programmers whose identities are still unknown, wrote a program that could decrypt commercial DVDs, and he became internationally infamous as “DVD Jon.” He was 15.
In 1997, Justin Frankel, an 18-year-old hacker in Sedona, Ariz., wrote a free MP3 player called WinAmp, which became a fixture on Windows machines and helped mainstream the digital-music revolution. During its first 18 months in release, 15 million people downloaded it. Three years later, Frankel wrote Gnutella, a peer-to-peer file-sharing protocol so decentralized that, unlike Napster, it could not be shut down. Millions of people still use it.
It looks like the FCC isn’t ready to give up its consumer advocacy on usage-based pricing plans. An FCC spokeswoman emailed me a statement attributed to a senior FCC official that said, “Usage-based pricing can create more choice and flexibility for consumers. But practices that are arbitrary, anti-consumer, or anti-competitive would cause serious concern. The FCC will be a cop on the beat for consumers.”
NINETEEN TECHNOLOGY HEAVYWEIGHTS have written to the UK Communications Minister and urged him to cement the Government’s stance on the open Internet.
The open letter, which is addressed to Ed Vaizey, Jeremey Hunt and Vince Cable, said that rather than just support the idea of the open Internet in principle the Government should preserve it with legislation and enforcement from Ofcom. This they added will protect Internet users and keep ISPs from abusing their dominant position.
The letter, which is undersigned by firms including Yahoo and Ebay, Skype and Which?, as well as the National Union of Journalists and the Open Rights Group, starts with some good words for the minister.
What do we really know about the costs of violations of intellectual property for national economies? Or, conversely, about the economic benefits of strengthening copyright, trademark and patent protection? You could be forgiven for thinking that we know a great deal.
A widely quoted FBI assessment from 2002 estimated that US businesses lose between $200bn and $250bn to counterfeiting annually. A 2002 press release from the Customs and Border Patrol estimated counterfeit goods costing businesses $200bn dollars in losses annually and 750,000 jobs. The Federal Trade Commission was quoted as a source by industry groups for a claim that the American automobile industry alone loses $3bn annually from counterfeit car parts.
Those sound like authoritative sources and scarily large numbers. Unfortunately, when the General Accounting Office – the US government’s non partisan independent watchdog – sought the basis for those figures, it found that in each case there was no methodology, there was no study. Or in the GAO report’s words, they “cannot be substantiated or traced back to an underlying data source or methodology.” The FBI and the Border Patrol at least turn out to have made the numbers up in that authoritative scholarly form, “the press release,” while the poor FTC simply had industry groups attribute numbers to it with no basis in fact.
In a rare defense of notorious copycat practices by certain Chinese manufacturers, a senior official has stated that “innovative elements” of fake products should be protected and encouraged, instead of being squashed without consideration of their intellectual property value.
Demonoid, one of the most prominent BitTorrent sites on the Internet, is ditching its .COM domain. In an announcement today the world’s biggest semi-private tracker says it will move to a .ME domain with immediate effect. The move comes as no surprise since both the MPAA and RIAA listed Demonoid in their recent submissions of “notorious markets” for pirate material.
After being in quiet development for some months, in September the Mulve music downloading app hit the mainstream. Very quickly everything went sour, with British police swooping on the guy who registered the Mulve domain and placing him under arrest on a range of charges from copyright infringement through to conspiracy to defraud. Today we can report the outcome. For once it’s good news.
But along with this new wave of creators come some bad apples who use the Internet to infringe copyright. As the web has grown, we have seen a growing number of issues relating to infringing content. We respond expeditiously to requests to remove such content from our services, and have been improving our procedures over time. But as the web grows, and the number of requests grows with it, we are working to develop new ways to better address the underlying problem.
SUPPOSE for a moment that the gloomiest predictions for the music business turn out to be correct. Efforts by governments and record companies to shut down file-sharing websites like the Pirate Bay fail. Piracy becomes so entrenched that people simply stop buying legitimate CDs. Customers drift away from Apple’s iTunes store, which sells digital music tracks. They refuse to pay even trivial monthly subscriptions for music-download services like Pandora and streaming outfits like Spotify. Improbable? Not at all. In China, this worst-case scenario has already come to pass
Fans of FOSS are already all too accustomed to the many barbs and insults Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) tends to sling at any free competitor, but one of the latest was so mystifying as to leave many Linux bloggers scratching their heads.
To be precise,”Нужно иметь в виду, что Linux не является российской ОС и, кроме того, находится в конце своего жизненного цикла” was the comment from Nikolai Pryanishnikov, president of Microsoft Russia. Translated, it reads, “We must bear in mind that Linux is not a Russian OS and, moreover, is at the end of its life cycle.”
Now, those who have been paying attention know that Russia is in the midst of what might be called an on-again, off-again affair with free software, as Glyn Moody notes in a recent blog post on the topic.
“Saying a thing doesn’t make it so,” Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza told Linux Girl. “Linux still has legs it hasn’t even walked on yet.”
The operating system is “still growing in the server space, and Android looks poised to utterly dominate the smartphone landscape,” Espinoza explained. “Meanwhile, the desktop computer is on its way out; less and less people need one, and more and more Internet citizens lack one.
“The year of the Linux desktop just may end up being the year the desktop is replaced by tablets and smartphones,” Espinoza concluded.
There is a longstanding myth that the choice of multimedia applications is sparse in Linux. This article began as a roundup of Multimedia Apps (multimedia being images, audio, and video). We had to split the story not once, but twice, in order to accommodate the number of titles we found. It’s safe to say that this myth has been busted.
In case you missed out on it earlier this year, you should really play Amnesia: The Dark Descent. Frictional Games built on the foundation it laid during its work on the Penumbra series to deliver a title that doesn’t rely on shock scares or cheap, gross-out imagery to frighten. It’s the genuine article — a consistently unsettling game world that never lets up and only becomes stranger as time goes on; a title very much worthy of the designation “survival horror.”
As of today, the latest release in KDE’s 4.5 series is 4.5.4, which adds a bunch of stabilization and translation updates on top of 4.5. Users in general are encouraged to upgrade to 4.5.4. The changelog has more details about some of the changes that went into this release.
Today, KDE has released a series of updates to the Plasma Desktop and Netbook workspaces, the KDE Applications and the KDE Platform. This update is the fourth in a series of monthly stabilization updates to the 4.5 series. 4.5.4 brings bugfixes and translation updates on top of KDE SC 4.5 series and is a recommended update for everyone running 4.5.3 or earlier versions. As the release only contains bugfixes and translation updates, it will be a safe and pleasant update for everyone. KDE SC 4 is already translated into more than 55 languages, with more to come.
Here at MakeTechEasier, we’ve covered Linux desktop issues of all kinds, and we’ve examined desktop environments both well known (Gnome and KDE) as well as somewhat obscure (Window Maker, LXDE). For some reasons, we’ve never taken a close look at the very popular XFCE desktop environment. It’s nearly as feature-rich as Gnome, but with a smaller footprint. As it’s been a big name in the Linux desktop world for quite a few years now, it seems we’re long overdue to check out this polished and useful collection of software.
The Linux Genealogy CD is a great way to take Linux for a “test drive” without changing anything on your PC. Once downloaded and stored properly on a CD-ROM disk, the Linux Genealogy CD can be used as a boot disk. You insert the CD into your PC’s CD disk drive, boot directly from the CD, and load Linux. You can run Linux as long as you wish but it never writes anything to your hard drive (unless you specifically tell it to). When finished, you boot down, remove the CD, boot again, and the system returns to Windows, exactly the same as before. Nothing has been changed.
At the beginning of November the Mageia project had many necessary elements almost in place. These included things like a build server, Website and wiki hosting, a Code of Conduct, development and management teams, and a roadmap. The build server is based on Mandriva One and is just almost complete. PLF is temporarily hosting the some online resources and Zarb.org is hosting the mailing lists until a move to Gandi is completed. Packaging, artwork, distribution developers, translators, designers, QA, and other teams were organized. An alpha was planned for December at that time.
Here are the problems you can see just looking at a screen surface level here:
* The titlebar says warning. The text says error. The icon indicates a question. These are all in conflict with one another. This dialog is more of a warning dialog than anything else.
* The metadata about the drive in question is strewn all over the dialog and hard to read.
* The dialog uses the word ‘reinitialized’ and ‘re-initialized’ multiple times without explaining what it means.
* THE DIALOG USES ALL CAPS
* The dialog says that re-initializing will cause all data to be lost, but actually, it will only cause data on the drives being reinitialized to be lost, and only if there was any data in the first place (which there might not have been.)
* Four buttons across the bottom of the screen is a bit of an overload, yet if we had say 100 such devices attached to the system (slices of a network drive maybe) then we would see this dialog 100 times without those extra ‘all’ buttons.
* What does ignore do? Ignore what? Ignore this warning and go ahead an re-initialize? Wait a minute… (It actually ignores the drive in question, removing it from the set of drives considered in the install process)
* Overall, the dialog is scary, and this fright is brought up in situations that should not be frightful – e.g., you’re simply installing on a virtual machine with a virtual disk. No need for the scare!
Recently, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu shocked the Ubuntu Linux world when he announced that the next release of the popular Linux, Ubuntu 11.04, would use Unity instead of GNOME as its default desktop interface.
Why move from pure GNOME to Unity? As Shuttleworth explained to the Ubuntu developers, “Lots of people are already committed to Unity — the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors.” In particular, he noted, “Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) favor Unity. They’re happy to ship it.”
Ubuntu 11.04 Alpha 1 is set to be released today and many of you have been wondering what Canonical’s Unity desktop will look like in this forthcoming release codenamed Natty Narwhal. I, for one, have been quite interested based upon the terrible Unity experience in Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook, so I fired up the latest Ubuntu Natty daily LiveCD released this morning. Here are some screenshots of the new Ubuntu Unity desktop as it stands in Natty Alpha 1 along with screenshots of Natty’s classic GNOME desktop.
Developed by Google, Chrome OS is currently available as a release candidate, with general release expected early in 2011. Although according to Wikipedia, Chrome OS will not be available as a download, but shipped pre-installed on computers, a download is still available on lie.
Chrome is the most extreme example yet of an operating system designed for use with online applications. It installs with little more than the Chrome browser and a panel with a few basic utilities on it, and almost all the available apps are online.
EditShare founder and president Andy Liebman said that, based on early inquiries, more than 25,000 editors and developers could participate in the beta program. “We believe we can unleash a large community with developers,” he said.
When I heard that Xmarks, the popular cross-browser plug-in that synchronizes bookmarks and passwords across multiple computers, was going out of business, I was really upset. For me, and many others, Xmarks is an invaluable resource. Well, we don’t have to worry anymore. LastPass, makers of an excellent password manager, has just announced that they’ve bought Xmarks. Hurrah!
No, Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) is about as secure as any network can be. But, US Army intelligence analyst, Private First Class Bradley Manning showed how even the best laid security plans are useless if they’re not followed. While SIPRNet materials seemed to have been shared over a secured network, the laptops that Manning used to vacuum down the gigabytes of data, now in WikiLeak’s hands, had a CD/DVD burner on it. According to a Wired report, Manning said, “I would come in with music on a CD-RW labeled with something like ‘Lady Gaga,’ erase the music then write a compressed split file.”
A few folks sent over this rather bizarre, but entertaining, story in the NY Times about a guy who operates an online ecommerce shop for eyewear out of his home office, and seems to have done quite well… in part by being a total jackass. The story is almost unbelievable. I’m not going to name the site, because, as is noted in the article, the guy thrives on having his site named in various places, which has only served to boost the Google juice for it. However, the guy discovered that the more complaints he got online, the higher his site ranked in Google, leading to more sales. Yes, if you do a search on the site’s actual name, there are tons of complaints warning people to stay away — but many of his customers don’t actually do that.
As you can clearly see, none of the competing search engines I’ve named are listed in the top results. Rather than show them, Google instead shows pages about cars that it has collected across the web using its own technology.
The cool news is there’s a new speed record for electric aircraft. A French pilot flew his twin-engine, electric powered Cri-Cri to a top speed of 162 miles per hour. This beats the previous record of 155 mph set by an Italian team in 2009.
But McCall was merely pointing out that there’s a “revolving door” at these agencies, and machines are pitched by former government folks, with little evidence that they’re effective. Matthews totally takes what McCall actually says and pretends (falsely) that she claimed he made a corrupt deal while still in power. This is what passes for journalism these days?
What’s missing from all of these celebrations is an iota of questioning or skepticism. All of the information about this episode — all of it — comes exclusively from an FBI affidavit filed in connection with a Criminal Complaint against Mohamud. As shocking and upsetting as this may be to some, FBI claims are sometimes one-sided, unreliable and even untrue, especially when such claims — as here — are uncorroborated and unexamined. That’s why we have what we call “trials” before assuming guilt or even before believing that we know what happened: because the government doesn’t always tell the complete truth, because they often skew reality, because things often look much different once the accused is permitted to present his own facts and subject the government’s claims to scrutiny. The FBI affidavit — as well as whatever its agents are whispering into the ears of reporters — contains only those facts the FBI chose to include, but omits the ones it chose to exclude. And even the “facts” that are included are merely assertions at this point and thus may not be facts at all.
Of course, this is hardly new. There appears to have been a very similar story just a month ago, involving a guy in DC who wanted to bomb Metro stations, but the only actual plotting he was able to do was after federal authorities stepped in and helped him plan everything.
Even that is hardly new. I remember a fascinating episode of This American Life back from the summer of 2009 describing (in great detail) a very similar story of a supposed “arms dealer” that the Justice Department championed as a success story when it arrested and prosecuted him for selling missiles to terrorists. The only problem is that the deeper you dig, the more you realize that the whole plot was also set up by the feds. The guy had no way to get a missile. It was actually provided by the feds themselves.
We’ve already pointed out how many mainstream newspapers and magazines have been mocking the concerns of people who are upset by the TSA’s new search procedures. And, of course, the latest is that the press has decided this story is over because not enough people (in their estimation) opted out of the naked scans last week. NYU professor Jay Rosen notes a related, but disturbing, trend in the mainstream press coverage, with multiple publications suggesting that it was somehow childish to suggest these machines invade privacy with little actual security benefit. The common theme in all of these reports? “Grow up.”
An exercise we did Friday at Univeristy of Nevada, Reno’s High School Journalism Day raised an interesting legal question: can a public university restrict its students’ use of social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter?
On Wednesday, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski set a vote on rules to protect network neutrality, the principle that broadband companies shouldn’t block or degrade rival web content, services or applications. The vote will be held on December 21st.
The compromise rules would re-establish the principle that U.S. internet users can use whatever software, websites and equipment they like on their cable or DSL connections. Those companies would also be barred from slowing down or blocking content from competitors. The ISPs will also have to be transparent about how they manage congestion on their networks to ensure that anti-competitive behavior isn’t being disguised.
Described online as a struggling screenwriter who sells flowers to make ends meet, P.J. McIlvaine is now facing the biggest struggle of her life. After creating a free online library of Hollywood movie scripts to assist other screenwriters, she incurred the wrath of Twentieth Century Fox. Without any previous contact, the movie giant sent private investigators to P.J’s home to gather information and has now sued for a mind boggling $12 million.
This is hardly a surprise. Since Whitney Harper lost the appeal in her fight against the RIAA, claiming that statutory rates should be lowered to $200 (from a minimum of $750) as she was an “innocent infringer” (something which the law allows), we noted that it was unlikely the Supreme Court would hear the case. Even after the Supreme Court asked the RIAA for more info, we still noted that it was a long shot. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that the Supreme Court has refused to hear the case.
Accusing someone in a federal lawsuit of illegally downloading pornography is by itself so potentially embarrassing that it puts undue pressure on an accused person to settle, a watchdog group has told judges in Texas and West Virginia.
Of course, even more insidious is Morton’s regular mixing of “counterfeiting” and “copyright infringement” — which are two extremely different things. In his statement, however, he seems to rely on whatever is “worst” for what he’s talking about. Counterfeit products seem like a bigger problem than straight copyright infringement, so he puts that first as saying “counterfeiters” are a problem. But, of course, the websites seized have nothing to do with counterfeits, so he switches and pretends he’s talking about copyright, saying that “criminals are stealing American ideas and products and distributing them over the Internet.” Except you can’t “steal an idea.” It’s simply not possible. Nothing is missing. You can copy an idea — but an idea is not copyrightable — only an expression is. You would think that someone representing the US government, seizing domain names over copyright infringement would know that you can’t copyright an idea.
For a domain name, even a short seizure effectively erases any value the asset has. Even if ultimately returned, it’s now worthless.
Clearly the prosecutors here understand that a pre-trial seizure is effectively a conviction. Consider the following quote from Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton, who said at a press conference today, “Counterfeiters are prowling in the back alleys of the Internet, masquerading, duping and stealing.” Or consider the wording of the announcement placed on seized domain names (see http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-20023918-93.html), implying at the least that the sites were guilty of illegal acts.
There’s no requirement for the government to explain the seizures are only temporary measures designed to safeguard property that may be evidence of crime or may be an asset used to commit it. Nor do they have to acknowledge that none of the owners of the domain names seized has been charged or convicted of any crime yet. But the farther prosecutors push the forfeiture statute, the bigger the risk that courts or Congress will someday step in to pull them back.
Even more damning, top artists like Kanye West clearly appreciate sites like this. Just a few weeks ago, Kanye West linked to OnSmash via his Twitter feed.
It really looks like Homeland Security/ICE may have seriously screwed up here. Whether or not seizing domains in general like this is even legal is an open legal question — and blatantly seizing domains with tons of legit content that the industry and artists regularly used themselves seems like a test case the government doesn’t want just waiting to happen.
Barnett also claims that this is no different than Customs seizing shipments of counterfeit goods as they enter the US, but that’s a huge stretch. Customs’ job is to guard what crosses the borders. That’s it. Seizing entire domain names because there may be some infringing material on the site (which, again, was never established at a trial) has absolutely nothing to do with protecting the borders. And the very fact that Barnett’s already admitted to relying on the industry’s say so that these things are infringing is downright scary. Why are our tax dollars being used to protect legacy entertainment industry companies that refuse to adapt?
Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records.
The Senate Judiciary Committee apparently just loves expanding copyright law for no reason whatsoever. Just after they unanimously agreed to move the COICA censorship bill forward, they’ve also unanimously agreed to move forward with the fashion copyright bill, which is nothing more than blatant protectionism for the largest players in the fashion industry, at the expense of new entrants and (more importantly) the public. This has been discussed over and over and over again and it’s a real shame.